The Q&A Archives: Mother Nature's Overwatering

Question: Our area is receiving a record amount of days in a row with rain. Will this hurt my tomato plants? I have four plants in a one foot by four foot area and the soil, which is clay is one big muck patch. Is there anything I need to do?

I have several larger early girl but they're not ripening due to lack of sun, I think. Should I pick them and let them ripen in the house?


Answer: And we're up here in a drought! It just figures, doesn't it?
A lot of rain and humidity can lead to tomato diseases. Your plants sound like they are spaced quite closely, too. Wider spacing means less competition for resources (sun, nutrients, moisture), and allows more air to circulate among the plants, keeping the leaves drier and less succeptible to disease.

Wet clay is a bummer. Unfortunately, there's nothing you can do to improve the soil situation at this point. Any attempt to ditch the soil to draw away puddles will compact the soil and lead to more trouble. You can plan to mix lots of compost with your soil this fall, after the tomatoes are done, or early in the spring, and create a mounded bed that has better drainage.

As for the Early Girls, they need warmth, not light, to ripen, so as long as the temperatures are warm, they will ripen. Best of luck!

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